Inspiration: Viviane Sassen

I have neglected this site for so long. When I started The Style Factory my main intention was to write articles, create stories and document it with pictures, but I no longer have time to write, and it would be terribly sad to see my blog come to an end for that reason alone.

Perhaps I’m taking a break from writing, but still love imagery and music, they have always been my main source of inspiration, and so my blog returns! I will be blogging more from now on, continue to showcase songs or playlist, and photos of all things that catch my eye, inspire me and influence my work as stylist.

I am not a writer, am just really enthusiastic about sharing what I find beautiful and interesting.

Today I want to share some images from Viviane Sassen‘s work. Her use of  colour and geometric shapes, and art and fashion combined create such striking photos, she is more than a photographer, she is an artist, one of many whose work I admire and find divine.

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Fashionable Alice

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Alice is probably the most iconic character having transitioned from a children’s book heroine to muse of many influential artists; film and art directors, fashion designers and stylists, who have reinvented her look over and over again.

The new exhibition The Alice Look at V&A Museum of Childhood marks the book’s 150th anniversary, It explores Alice’s wardrobe from follower-of-fashion to trend-setter through a selection of illustrations, several editions of the book, videos and garments. I found very interesting to see the evolution of her outfits over the decades in all the different publications of “Alice in Wonderland”by Lewis Carol, also in rare editions of the book in other countries.

I enjoyed the exhibition, but I would have liked to see more garments inspired by this iconic character, such as the Vivienne Westwood A/W 2011 Collection,  and the dresses designed by John Galliano for the “What you waiting for” video by Gwen Stefani. The concept for the video is “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland”and “Through the Looking Glass”, and the outfits and styling are incredible. In 2011 Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland the costumes are also very interesting and beautiful.

 Alice Liddell  has strongly inspired fashion and will continue to influence contemporary and future artists, and be a famous character  among generations to come.

 Vogue Shoot by Annie Leibovitz with Natalia Vodianova as Alice Liddell in 2003.

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Gwen Stefani in What You Waiting For video in 2004.

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Mia Wasikowska in Alice In Wonderland movie by Tim Burton 2010.

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Anne Hathaway in the Alice in Wonderland movie.

Anne Hathaway in the Alice in Wonderland movie.

Vivienne Westwood A/W 2011 Red Label Collection.

Vivienne Westwood A/W 2011 Red Label

Wild Bluebell women fragrance by Joe Malone launched in 2011, inspired by Alice.

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Window Display at the Temperley London  store in February 2015 during Fashion Week, to launch their A/W15 collection.

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 The Alice Look exhibition at V&A Museum of Childhood runs until November 1st.

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Alexander “The Great”

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Exactly five years ago on February 11th, the news about Alexander McQueen’s death shocked the world Fashion industry.

Famous for his provoking fashion shows and spectacular designs, he is without a doubt the most iconic and inspirational designer of this generation. If he was alive today would continue to amaze us with his creations, produce the most imaginative shows and be the best British designer.

Savage Beauty is the most awaited exhibition, coming to the V&A in London on March 14th, it celebrates McQueen’s extraordinary contribution to fashion and features work from his incredible nineteen year career. Previously shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York it became the eight most popular in the Met’s history, and will finally open here very soon, I can’t wait to see this wonderful exhibition!

“Everybody else calls him Lee, I call him Alexander, because I think of Alexander the Great”. 

– Isabella Blow.

The spectacular white dress being spray-painted by two robots.

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S/S 1999

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“Birds” Show S/S 2001

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S/S 2001

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American Express Show London 2004

Kate Moss hologram at the Paris Autumn/Winter 2006 Show.

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Paris A/W 06/07

His Spring/Summer 2008 Collection was an homage to Isabella Blow.

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Spring/Summer 08

 Givenchy by Alexander McQueen Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1997-98.

Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1997-98

Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1997-98

Paris Fall/Winter 2009

Paris Fall/Winter 2009

Fall/Winter 2009

Fall/Winter 2009

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

What Happened Next on Miles Aldridge’s Photography

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How to Catch a Thief 1955

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Rich & Strange 1931

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The White Shadow 1923

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A few days ago while watching Alfred Hitchcock’s How to Catch a Thief  I found myself thinking about the extraordinary career he had, he was the master of suspense and had a very distinctive editorial style, the way he framed shots to maximise tension and the unpredictable, the violence, crime &  twisted endings of his films were his trademark, he also had an obsession for  blonde female characters as the leading role.

As a child I used to watch Hitchcock’s TV series every Monday at midnight while my parents were in bed, I was only 7 but I got hooked instantly and as I got older I continued to watch his films. I’m only one of many fans who loves and admires his work,  he has been a major influence to many artists and not only in the film industry but also in photography.

Miles Aldridge is an English photographer, he has been producing incredible imagery for over 13 years, he has done fashion editorials for Numero, The New Yorker, Pop, Chinese Vogue, American Vogue, Vogue Russia and especially Vogue Italia, in which his work has consistently appeared since 2000.

There is an element of Hitchcock’s style in Aldridge’s photography and Miles himself has openly said the acclaimed director has been a source of inspiration for his work, I believe it is his predominant use of  glamorous and beautiful women, an obsession which Hitchcock had, or perhaps it is the feeling that’s captured in his rich and colourful photos, a sensation that something disturbing or chaotic is about to happen, just like in Hitchcock’s films.

There are two exhibitions of Miles Aldridge’s work in London,  I Only Want You to Love Me at the Somerset House until the 29th September and Short Breaths, at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery until the 28th September,  It would be a shame to miss them.

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Cabaret, Vogue Italia 2006

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Diva, Numero 2005

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Dance Study, Paradis 2008

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Lie Wen for Vogue Italia, February 2011

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So Poetic, Vogue Italia 2006

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Le Manage Enchante, Numero 2007

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Immaculee, Numero 2007

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Home Works, Vogue Italia 2008

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A Dazzling Beauty, Vogue Italia 2008

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Dinner Party, Vogue Italia 2009

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A Precious Glam Num.2 2011

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Cat Story, Vogue Italia 2008

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Blooming, Vogue Italia 2007

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Miles Aldridge

The Magic House in Dalston

Dalston House has been without a doubt the most exciting art installation I’ve seen since Carsten Holler’s big slides at the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in 2007. It is an installation by argentine artist Leandro Erlich, known for his three-dimensional visual illusions, his latest project is a reconstructed house facade lying face-up and a mirror positioned over it at a 45-degree angle, the mirror reflects your image and creates the illusion that you are walking up the walls or dangling from the window, the possibilities are endless.

After a few attempts to get in, or shall I say, on Dalston House, I finally did it last Saturday morning, and although it only lasted 4 minutes I enjoyed every second of it. It was so interesting to see how the viewer interacted with the house and just let their imagination go in order to create the illusion of walking on the walls, dangling up side down from a window or even crawling from the bottom to the top of the house, it is fair to say the experience wouldn’t be complete without a camera and a friend or someone photographing you on the house.

I went with my friend John and regardless the hot weather and the 1 hour queue we waited with excitement, just like a pair of kids, I found myself thinking of the objects I could have brought or outfits worn to create a more surreal illusion, for me it was all about capturing those moments in photographs.

Dalston House is on Ashwin Street, the road before mine, which makes it impossible to walk past without having a peak of what people do and what age they are, I really enjoyed watching a group of three friends in their late 50’s or quite possibly early 60’s, suspended one from another like a chain, screaming and doing funny facial expressions, you don’t see things like this every day so, visit this magical house and let your inner child go!

Dalston House by Beyond Barbican, 1-7 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL, free.

Women in Black

These two girls were playing and posing on the house once it had been closed to the public, I was walking past and managed to take these photos with my phone.

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Never let me go

My friend John dangling from the top of the house and I’m holding onto his foot while a woman stares at us with panic from the window.

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A mysterious man

A man is walking up the wall as he is coming to rescue us, John is only holding both of us with one hand and I don’t want to let go of my handbag.

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Testing Gravity

John reckons it’s time to play and test the laws of gravity and floats up side down while I’m busy taking pictures.

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A different perspective

My world is up side down and I like it.

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The Magic of the Light Show

I have waited months to see this exhibition and it finally opened on Thursday! The Light Show explores how we experience and psychologically respond to illumination and colour. It showcases works from contemporary artists but also from the 60’s, when they began to experiment with the visual and sensory effects of artificial light and science and technology  were combined to create art.

Natural lighting plays an important roll on our mood and health even, it is no secret that sunny weather makes us happier and energised so, it is very interesting when artists experiment with artificial light with the intention of transporting the viewer to another place or create an optical illusion to play with our state of mind .

I analysed  how each installation made me feel rather than focusing on the meaning or  intention the artist wished to communicate. I was mesmerised, in a different dimension of a spacial nature but also magic and fantasy kept popping in my mind. Some installations made me feel calm and happy, others extremely peaceful and almost in a trance waiting to enter a tunnel that would take me to the other side.

All the 25 works on show are fantastic but my favourite are Jim Campbell, Exploded View (2011), Olafur Eliasson, Model for a lifetime garden (2011), Leo Villareal, Cylinder ll (2012) and Doug Wheeler, Untitled (1969). There is a little description of each of them below with the pictures.

What you see and feel at the exhibition is very subjective and personal, in my case I associated the conceptual artwork to a surreal world, a fantasy movie or a parallel universe to escape from the dull and boring. While observing each installation you have to let yourself go and your imagination take over, it is a great experience.

Visitors are only allowed to take photos in three rooms but the exhibition really deserved a great post on my blog and well, images say more than words, and although I got told off a few times I managed to get some really good shots.

The Light Show is on at the Hayward Gallery until 28 April and everyone should go to see it, it really is dazzling!

View from the second floor of the exhibition.

View from the second floor of the exhibition.

Cylinder ll (2012) features light and movement, composed by complex computer programming, creating endlessly changing patterns and shapes, the intensity of the lights change constantly and at times it looked like fireworks, falling stars and all sort of beautiful glowing phenomenon you can imagine.

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Leo Villareal, Cylinder ll (2012)

Untitled (1969) consists of a room in which a large light-encased square appears to float freely in space. This room made me feel so serene , it was as if by walking through this giant square of light I’d be entering an unknown dimension.

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Doug Wheeler, Untitled (1969).

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Francois.Morellet, Lamentable (1969).

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David Batchelor, The Magic Hour (2004/2007).

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Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose (2007).

Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose (2007).

She combined artificial fog with beams of light projected by powerful spotlights , revealing a luminous star in which light seems to solidify.

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Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013).

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013).

Ceal Floyer, Throw (1997).

Ceal Floyer, Throw (1997).

Exploded View (2011) More than a thousands LED bulbs in a rectangle shape suspended in the middle of a room that randomly blink on and off giving the impression of shadowy figures that dissolve and resolve. The lights were beautiful and gave the illusion of men’s legs walking through this glowing rectangle.

Jim Campbell, Exploded View (2011).

Jim Campbell, Exploded View (2011).

Cerith Wyn Evans, Superstructure (2010).

Cerith Wyn Evans, Superstructure (2010).

Anthony Mccall, You and I, Horizontal (2005).

Anthony Mccall, You and I, Horizontal (2005).

Ivan Navarro, Reality Show (Silver) (2010).

Ivan Navarro, Reality Show (Silver) (2010).

Model for a lifetime garden (2011) She is the artist who created The Weather Project in 2003, this installation consisted of a succession of 27 fountains under flashing stroboscopic lamps, the effect is an ever changing landscape of icy festoons and crystal garlands. It looked like a diamonds explosion and it was beautiful, although after a while the constant flashing lights made me feel a bit disorientated.

Olafur Eliasson, Model for a timeless garden (2011).

Olafur Eliasson, Model for a timeless garden (2011).

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Madame Westwood & my dream collaboration

The recent Vivienne Westwood’s collaboration to rebrand the English National Ballet made me think about successful women and “girl power”, so I started fantasising about what would be my dream collaboration…with my top four women of all time!

The idea is simply overwhelming but here it goes in no particular order, Vivienne Westwood, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama and Janis Joplin!

Let’s just imagine that Kahlo and Joplin were alive, and right now this extraordinary quartet are in the same room, would it work? would they even get along? At some point Westwood would share her strong political views and talk about human rights, which I believe all four of them would quite enjoy considering they are free spirit and open minded.

Kusama and Joplin seem to have a lot in common, although there are a few years difference between them they both experienced the sex revolution and movement in the 60’s and this clearly inspired both of their careers.

In my opinion Yayoi was the queen of psychedelic art and her obsession with polka dots is her trademark, she was part of the Pop Art movement, an influence for Warhol and also the only female artist in that scene at the time. She  participated in protests against the Vietnam war, which often involved nudity so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kusama and Janis had met during one of the protests, perhaps  even at Woodstock, the festival that celebrated what was happening in history at the time and which defined the 60’s.

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Yayoi Kusama in 1960

Janis performing one of my favourite songs, “Summertime” in Stockholm 1969

The voice of this woman doesn’t cease to amaze me,  it’s incredibly powerful and the spirit of blues.

Janis Joplin at Woodstock in 1969.

Janis Joplin at Woodstock in 1969.

Now, Westwood was clearly more interested in the 70’s Punk movement, a rebel at heart, daring and unconventional, she is from a completely different generation to Kahlo but they are  both visionary,  although Frida wasn’t a designer her distinctive look and style has had a  impact on fashion, just as Westwood has, both are and have been an inspiration to many artists and designers worldwide.

Westwood is an intelligent and talented woman, famous for reinventing fashion by combining English traditional 17th and 18th century elements with punk, while Frida has become the universal modern symbol for female suffering, which is reflected on her self portraits, she is the only female painter whose work fetch as much as Picasso’s or Pollock’s, they are both global icons.

So what do they all have in common? they are/were strong, ballsy and talented with unconventional ideas, needed a way to express themselves and whether it was consciently or not they made a difference through their art. Decades have gone past and they continue to inspire us, in music, fashion, art, film, photography and even performance.

I can’t  imagine what they would produce as a team but I know it’d be beyond expectations.They could be the fantastic four and I would quite happily live in a world ruled by these women, what a wonderful and magical place that would be!

Madame Westwood, a total visionary who changed Fashion forever.

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"It wasn't that I purposely wanted to rebel, I wanted to find out why it had to be done one way and not another", Vivienne Westwood.

“It wasn’t that I purposely wanted to rebel, I wanted to find out why it had to be done one way and not another”, Vivienne Westwood.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS13

Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS13

Her bright and colourful outfits and adornments, such as the flowers and ribbons on her hair have had an impact on Fashion, she is a style icon and her image has become so powerful that she is much more than an art star.

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Frida Kahlo_The style Factory blog

The two Fridas

The two Fridas 1939

Yayoi Kusama “Endless Love Show” 1966
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I took this photo when I visited Kusama’s exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2012, it was a glimpse into her hallucinatory world, full of  twinkling lights, dotty images and fabric-stuffed phallic objects.

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Kusama in Dots Obsession-Night.
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The Style Factory "My Room".

The Style Factory “My Room”, I’m so inspired by Kusama.